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DISCLAIMER: This article is based on a complaint. The defendant has not responded to the complaint to present its side of the case. The claims mentioned are accusations and should be considered as such until and unless proven otherwise.
Timing can mean everything when it comes to collecting debts. A collector is facing a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act lawsuit because it allegedly started furnishing information about a debt to the credit reporting agencies a day before the validation period ended and also by sending a letter on the day the validation period was set to expire. It’s also being accused of mischaracterizing a dispute and request for verification of the debt as a claim of identity theft.
The Background: The dates are going to matter in describing what happened here.
- The plaintiff received a Model Validation Notice from the defendant on December 5, 2022. It informed the plaintiff that he had until January 16 to dispute all or a portion of the debt or to seek verification.
- On January 16, the plaintiff sent an email to the defendant disputing the debt, saying he never had an account with the creditor to whom the debt was allegedly owed and asking for all documentation.
- On January 15, the plaintiff allegedly received an alert from his bank notifying him that a “major derogatory mark” on his credit report had been placed by the defendant.
- The defendant sent the plaintiff a letter, dated January 16, offering to accept an amount less than the full balance to settle the account.
- On January 17, the defendant responded to the plaintiff’s email, acknowledging receipt of the dispute.
- The plaintiff then received a letter from the defendant, dated January 19, informing the plaintiff that it had received his identity theft claim and seeking additional information to investigate the situation.
- A month later, the defendant sent the plaintiff another email that served as verification of the debt, but also referenced the identity theft claim that the plaintiff says he never made.
The Claims: The plaintiff is accusing the defendant of violating Sections 1692e(10) and 1692f because it submitted information to the credit bureaus prior to the expiration of the validation period, because it attempted to collect on the debt by sending an email on the day the validation period was set to expire, and by stating that the plaintiff was claiming to be the victim of identity theft.